Big Problems: Most Rural Residents Worried About Obesity
January 28, 2013
While hospitals and doctors wrestle with questions of how to roll out federal health care reform, schools, restaurants and churches might also find themselves changing how they relate to supporting health care goals.
A new survey found that Monterey County residents strongly support a community-wide approach to preventing obesity, seeing roles not only for health care providers but also community and civic organizations (81 percent), schools (91 percent), food retailers (82 percent), restaurants (84 percent), churches and other faith-based organizations (74 percent) and employers (74% percent) in the community's weight loss battle.
Ninety-seven percent of local voters describe obesity as a “serious problem,” and 90 percent percent agree that neighborhoods where people live affect their risk for obesity.
In Monterey County, 63 percent of adults are overweight or obese, as are 29 percent of teens and children, according to county Health Department data. Considering those numbers, Monterey County Health Officer Lisa Hernandez said in a statement, “It’s not surprising that community concern about obesity is so high."
The survey was conducted in 12 rural California counties, the recipients of a $22 million federal grant from the Centers for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Seaside is the local lead in the CA4Health Community Transformation Grant initiative, backed by the CDC and Public Health Institute.
The Health Department is working with Seaside schools to improve walkability to encourage children to walk or bike to school, and also encouraging kids to choose water over soda.
“These poll results show that we are on the right path with the local efforts already underway,” program coordinator Rose Vasquez said in a statement.